APA style

Your Guide to Writing In-Text Citation and Footnotes in APA Style

Despite being tedious, citations are crucial for improving the credibility of your work. Read this article to learn the basics of In-text citation and footnotes in APA style and the standard format with examples.

APA format citations consist of in-text citations and the complete reference in the reference list. In the in-text citation, you should include the author's last name and year of publication, such as, (Mathew, 2019). For short quotations, you need to add the page numbers preceded by “p”, for example (Mathew, 2019, p.123). You may also use an APA citation generator to create it.

Example: The author claims that “overpopulation is another reason for global warming” (Mathew, 2019, p.123).

For long quotations, write all the lines without the quotation marks like creating a new paragraph and indent 0.5in/1.27cm from the left margin. Type the entire section within these margins using double-spacing and include the parenthetical citation at the end.


Mathew’s (2019) study found the following:

          Overpopulation causes of global warming, which is the root cause of climate change. The link is undeniable, and it's of urgent importance to bring global warming under control. Talking of climate change without acknowledging the role played by human population growth is a sheer waste of time. (p. 22)

Punctuation Rules for APA In-Text Citations

  • When using the abbreviation “et al.,” remember to include a period (“.”).
  • Include a comma between “et al.” and the publication date (e.g. Mathews et al., 2019).
  • There’s no punctuation between the author’s name and “et al.”
  • Add a period after the citation (even when quoting)
  • For sources with no date, use “n.d.”
  • No using an ampersand symbol (“&”) in the running text. Always use the full word “and.”
  • Incorrect: According to research by Mathew & Smith … (2019).
  • Correct: Mathew and Smith conclude … (2019).

In-Text Citation for Varied Sources

  • No author:

First in-text citation: (Title of the Work, 2017)

Subsequent in-text citation: (Title of the Work, 2017)

  • One author:

First in-text citation: (Parker, 2017)

Subsequent in-text citation: (Parker, 2017)

  • Two authors:

First in-text citation: (Parker & Johnson, 2017)

Subsequent in-text citation: (Parker & Johnson, 2017)

  • 3-5 authors:

First in-text citation: (Parker, Johnson, James & Higgins, 2017)

Subsequent in-text citation: (Parker et al., 2017)

  • 6+ authors:

First in-text citation: (Parker et al., 2017)

Subsequent in-text citation: (Parker et al., 2017)

  • An organization with no abbreviation:

First in-text citation: (Samsung 2019)

Subsequent in-text citation: (Samsung, 2019)

  • An organization with an abbreviation:

First in-text citation: (National Health Service [NHS], 2020)

Subsequent in-text citation: (NHS, 2020)

  • Multiple sources in the same parentheses:

For multiple sources to support a statement, combine all the in-text citation and separate them using semicolons.

Example: Several research reports show that… (Keith & Parkston, 2004; Brown 2002; Peter, 2012, 2015a, 2015b).

  • Multiple publications from the same author(s) in the same year:

For differentiating two publications from the same author in the same year, you need to ass a suffix after the year of publication.

Example: Study by Peter (2015a) shows that…

Creating In-Text Footnote in APA style

Writers generally provide footnotes for two instances.

  • Content notes provide supplemental details that don't fit in the paragraph.
  • Copyright permissions for citing reprinted material.

For creating a footnote in APA style, add a superscript number after the punctuation with exceptions to dashes and parentheses. Write the footnote numbers before dashes and inside parentheses.

Example: Researchers examined –over several years1— the tools used in researches.(These can be seen in the Oxford Museum.3)

Content Note Citation:

Example: 1See Dawson (2011), especially chapter 3, for more information on this researcher’s theory.

Copyright Note Citation: 

Example: From the chapter “Theories of Micro-Research” J. Holmes and G. Stevenson, 2011, Micro-Researching, 22, p. 119. Copyright 2009 by Copyright Holder. Reprinted with permission.

Writing In-text citations and footnotes can be scary to create your first time. But with regular practice, you can overcome the challenges.

Relevant Sources- 

1. https://www.launchora.com/story/a-quick-guide-to-the-apa-citation-style

2. https://medium.com/@emilymoore758618/3-effective-referencing-tools-you-should-use-for-flawless-citations-9e6502f4b305

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